Brown addresses state of minority business enterprises in Maryland
LA PLATA, Md. (May 21, 2009) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown hosted the MBE University Conference this morning at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata to support Maryland’s minority and women-owned businesses and to highlight the State’s MBE progress. This is the third in a series of conferences that will travel around the State to offer training, opportunities and information on the tools necessary for minority and women-owned businesses to expand, create jobs and thrive even in difficult economic times. Today’s conference in La Plata focused on leveraging resources for opportunities, attracting more than 150 interested attendees to the event.
“Small, women and minority-owned businesses are the driving force of economic expansion and development in our communities,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Governor O’Malley and I will continue to invest in these businesses through important resources and initiatives like MBE University to ensure that they are given the same opportunities for success as other businesses in Maryland.”
As part of today’s conference, Lt. Governor Brown participated in a roundtable discussion with small business owners to address challenges and opportunities of doing business in Maryland, creating jobs, and expanding business even in difficult economic times.
“Creating connections that expand opportunity for minority and women-owned businesses has been a core priority for the O’Malley-Brown Administration since day one,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “MBE University is just one of the State’s initiatives to support our efforts toward creating jobs and expanding opportunity for our small and minority firms.”
Participants had the opportunity to attend workshops that provided information on contracting with the State as an MBE, response procedures for bid solicitations, MBE certification process, procurement opportunities with State and local governments, and leveraging resources in the public/private sector. MBE University sponsors and partners included Constellation Energy, College of Southern Maryland and the Small Business Development Center – Southern Region.
“Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland continues to be a leader in minority business enterprise,” said Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Special Secretary Luwanda Jenkins. “MBE University is a more focused outreach effort designed to connect Maryland’s minority and women-owned firms with vital opportunities and resources.”
Maryland has an aggressive and progressive MBE Program and has established the highest minority and women-owned business contracting goals in the nation at 25 percent. In addition, Maryland is one of only 15 states in the nation with MBE goals and one of only a few states with an MBE law in statute. Maryland remains the only state in the nation to collect uniform reporting data including actual payments to MBEs.
In Fiscal Year 2009, Maryland state agencies achieved 22 percent MBE participation, up from 20 percent in the previous year. These include over $1.6 billion in awards to MBE firms, an increase of 26 percent in one year, and $1 billion in payment to MBE firms.
MBE University was created in collaboration with the State’s minority business coordinating agencies and the Governor’s Office. Coordinating agencies include the Department of Business and Economic Development, the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, the Department of General Services, the Department of Housing & Community Development, and the Governor’s Grants Office. The 2010 conference schedule includes the Eastern Shore on June 16th, Western Maryland on July 7th and the Capital Region (Montgomery County) in fall 2010.
For more information on the MBE University initiative, contact the Governor’s Office at 410-767-8232 or visit www.mdminoritybusiness.com <http://www.mdminoritybusiness.com/> .